Sunday is the 15 year anniversary of 9/11. Remembering, our hearts still grieve. But we grieve with hope, not as the rest of mankind that grieves with despair. We grieve in hope of the resurrection. And we rejoice in the goodness of God. 2016 is also the 15 year anniversary of the translation of the ESV version of the Bible. It reminds us that God said in Isaiah 40:8 that "the grass withers and the flower falls off but the word of our God stands forever." God is faithful. He is good in all his ways and kind in all his deeds. He preserves his word and his people. God leads, guides, protects, and provides. He is sovereign. In his Providence he orchestrates human affairs. We can trust his perfect sovereignty.
I know it's really easy to want to hate our enemies who hate us. I know it's really easy to want to retaliate and never forgive. But Jesus gives us a better way. Jesus shows us the way because he is the way. He instructs us to love our enemies. To pray for those who persecute us. His is the way of peace not war. There is a time and place for just war. And there will be a time to lay down our arms and come together. Only God knows that time. But for today we need to celebrate that Jesus made peace by the blood of his cross. We need to remember Jesus Christ risen from the dead. He reconciled us to himself by the shed blood of Christ. And we are free. Free not to hate but to love. Free not to persecute but to forgive. Free to do what honors God most.
I would say that if you have any hate or animosity in your heart towards anyone who has persecuted you or us, I would ask that you pray for them. That you find in your heart to forgive. To get beyond the pain and seek their peace. Pray that God would open their hearts to the gospel truth. Pray for opportunities to share the love of Christ with people groups with whom you have trouble loving. Remember that history is angling for a day when people from every tribe and nation and tongue will gather around the throne of God to praise the glories of his marvelous grace in Christ. Never forget the Lord Jesus Christ and what he has done for you.